Test event on 2004 security

Security experts began a two-day planning exercise yesterday to test the organization for the 2004 Olympics and prepare officials for future full-scale exercises. Members of the Greek police, special forces, secret services, armed forces, port authorities and the fire department participated in the discussions, Olympics organizers said. Talks focused on determining the level of coordination, management and control for security in the event of a crisis during the Games. They also discussed security measures to be implemented at Olympics facilities, and planned a June exercise where security forces will act out hijacking and terrorist attack scenarios, organizers said. Experts will also inspect preparations for another full-scale exercise planned for November and named operation Gordian Knot 2002. Ensuring security at the Athens Olympics is a top priority following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Greece, criticized in the past for being unable to stop domestic terrorism, has budgeted a record $600 million for Olympic security. Sydney Olympics security chief Peter Ryan, who was recently appointed as an adviser to the Athens organizers, is also participating in the two-day planning exercise. On Monday, 50 Greek security chiefs – police, coast guards and firefighters – began working at the Athens organizing committee’s headquarters after completing basic training. They are now dealing with the operational planning of venues, and will later be in charge of security at sports venues. (AP)